A paper zine for people who hate people.

Straight Forward

I am now older than Bill Hicks will ever be and the only thing that I can do to justify my existence is to keep on doing what I’m doing: Expressing my own sincere opinions, writing the truth as I see it and to keep on shoving my obnoxious ideas down your throat like an uncircumcised cock.

I am sure that some people are surprised to see a new issue of this zine, but I have always planned to do at least eight issues, so now we’re halfway there. My situation is common in the world of zines in that there has been a massive gap between installments, making some people wonder if I had abandoned this project. Fuck no, is my polite reply. I had a lot of other shit to do, like be a good husband and make money. When I was ready to print the first issue of my zine I had saved just enough money to either buy a new Mac or print the zine. I chose the zine. More than a year later I’d saved up even more, so it was either a great new computer or my next issue and I chose the zine again. When I got to my third issue almost two years later, I charged both a new computer and the zine and sank myself into a hole that took me a long while to climb out of. I had to do it. I had to print this zine at my own expense, no matter what.

I am now back in New York City and delighted to be anonymous and isolated once again. I no longer have to fear anyone’s road rage or an asshole in an SUV with flags on every window running me and my little Honda off the road. Everyone that knew me knew I would move back to NYC sooner or later, and my wife and I returned for a million reasons. Well, maybe four reasons if we’re being honest: Access to everything at any time, ownership in a place we’ve always called home, convenience, and fear of cars—and that’s just off the top of my head.

We got tickets to fly back to New York on September 17, 2001. Our flight, along with every other flight, had been abruptly cancelled a few days earlier. We had been trying to sell our car for a while, but after September 11, I was able to convince my wife that we should keep the car and drive it back to New York.

When we decided we wanted to buy a place to live in New York City we made a plan. Mi amigo Pedro offered to let us stay in his second bedroom in Queens, where he was shacking up with his lovely girlfriend (now wife) Lisa. After a few months, it got to be a little cramped for everyone and we moved to my Mom and step-father’s house in Rockland County. We commuted to work in Manhattan, my wife as a forensic accountant (she is the kind that uses her powers for good) and I worked as a freelance Mac consultant and graphic designer. In my spare time, and for spare cash, I auctioned off a ton of stuff that I had accumulated in my life that no longer held any meaning for me, and when I pared down my life I felt a great sense of relief. I still feel like you can never have too many books, but I still have too many videotapes, too many audiotapes and too many CDs.
Since Grand Theft Auto: Vice City came out I’ve squandered the majority of my free time carjacking old ladies, shooting cops in the head and setting bikini-clad rollerskaters on fire with a flamethrower. It was way more cathartic than writing naughty words in a zine could ever be, and cathartic violence was what I really, really needed to clear my head. Between saving to buy a place, commuting, eating, sleeping, going to the gym, watching TV, smoking weed and making sweet love to my wife, I don’t have a lot of free time. It’s not easy to do a zine like this because some days I have to do laundry and some days I just want to steal a police helicopter and blow up an ambulance.

All of the last two and a half years were spent saving up to buy a co-op in Manhattan and my wife and I have never been happier. Getting here was a long, painful process—the seller died the weekend before we were supposed to close and the building shook us down for an insane security deposit before they would let us even try to get in. The co-op real estate system in Manhattan is the antithesis of everything that I think of as fair, legitimate and reasonable, but it’s like complaining about the weather—you can bitch all you like, but it’s never going to change, so you had better learn how to deal.
In the past few years I wrote pieces for the zine whenever I was inspired, motivated or had a good story to tell. The main hurdle for me is that I am usually the most creative, funny and interesting between one and four o’clock in the morning. For the first time in many years I have a regular job as the IT Manager for C.C., a famous party planner, author, style guru, TV host and Mac-user. As a result of my employment, my life has become more structured than I would like it to be, but I like the money much more than I dislike the work, though that can change on an almost daily basis. I go to the gym at least five days a week and have lost thirty-five pounds in the past three years. I look and feel better than I have for a long time and I am so strong now that I could probably easily kick my own ass.

In so many ways my life has changed since the last time I did an issue, but I think it’s all for the better. I have a wonderful wife who loves me more than anyone deserves to be loved and a nice, cozy apartment in a quiet building with a roof deck and a back garden. I have a comfy purple velvet couch that my wife and I saved up to buy while she was still in college and we have blackout blinds in our bedroom so we can sleep whenever we want. In some ways, I am really easy to please, and in other ways, I’m the hardest motherfucker in the world.

As you’ll either be reminded or soon discover, I am a compulsively honest person. Everything in here is as true as I can tell it and as fully detailed as I can remember. I sincerely believe that zines are one of the last bastions of free speech that is truly free. All of my words are unfettered by corporate or government interests and zines should always be done purely for the love and creative expression and there’s not a goddamn thing that anyone can do to fucking stop me. Drink my fucking ass, censors! Since there are people all over the world who have suffered and died to make sure that I have the right to say whatever I want, I would like to thank them for their sacrifices and then make them regret their efforts. I don’t have to do or say a redeeming thing to justify my opinions, but I’ll try. I am sure that there are some petty, jealous zine publishers reading this now who are sharpening their knives and waiting to tell me how much I suck at this and I don’t give a shit. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but man, your zine is boring.
I want you to know a lot about me not only because I think it’s interesting but mainly because the knowledge that I have about what despicable scum humanity is slowly poisons my being and I want the poison out. I often think that men are cursed with the poison of semen and it’s only when they can occasionally release that semen that they can finally feel at ease about who they are, for a few minutes. I believe in a lot of things and I am as sincere, honest and forthright as a person can be without it seeming like a cry for help. I am very moral, loyal, kind, sweet and thoughtful. From time to time I am a hypocrite either intentionally or not, but so are you, so let’s not even get into it. We’re all guilty on that one. Sometimes, late at night, when I’m really stoned or pissed off, I will sit down at my computer and write angry, vicious and often hilarious screeds that I call Negative Capability and I want to thank you for buying it. If you got it for free, you better read this whole fucking thing because I have put everything I am into these pages, into these phrases, into these designs and into these thoughts. This zine means the world to me, so please don’t treat it like an ugly girl. It deserves better.

I would like to take a moment to bash all religions because I can, and because no one else with an articulate point of view will even venture near the subject. If you read the Bible, or the Koran, or even the Torah, they collectively make less sense and contradict themselves more often than the Matrix films. Anyone who sincerely believes in the Rapture, when God will magically pull all saved people out of their moving cars before destroying the rest of us heathen scum, is insane. If you put a bumper sticker on your car that says, “In Case of Rapture, This Car Will Be Unmanned” you ought to have your license revoked and your head examined, you fucking deluded retard.

Patriotism is not something I think about very often, but I know that blind allegiance is always dangerous. America stands for so much fucking evil and hypocrisy that it’s hard not to hate it and everything it stands for. I am glad that I live here because for people like me, it’s much safer on the inside than the outside. If I am white and middle class and I’m terrified of America it must be awful for everyone else. If you’re feeling indignant, please remember that “American” cars are made in Mexico and Canada while “Japanese” cars are made in the U.S., so don’t tell me about hypocrisy. I’ll light my bong with a burning flag if I want to and then piss on it to put the fire out. That feeling of indignation you have is exactly what I feel every day when I look at our fucking retarded commander-in-thief and his corrupt cronies as they put every single person I love in the cross-hairs for their own sick and selfish agenda. Let me remind you that your government is lying to you so why would you kill for it? You should know better.

I have no sympathy for people who die doing things that they shouldn’t be doing. If you’re a hooker who is killed by a john, that’s a risk you take when you accept the assignment and as far as I’m concerned, being killed while in the commission of a crime means you were asking for it. When fisherman are swept off their boats or hunters are shot by other hunters I say, “If you live by the sword, you’ll die by the sword.” If you’re a drunk driver and you’re paralyzed from an accident that you caused and now you have to shit into a bag glued on your abdomen, I can’t think of a more fitting punishment.
My wife and I visited my grandmother in Florida recently, where it’s compulsory for Jews of a certain age to be relocated, and my sister came from LA to meet us there. Over fro-yo with the women in my family, my grandmother said that she was surprised by how well I turned out because most people who’ve had a life like mine don’t turn out to be productive citizens, compassionate husbands and nice Jewish boys. Like most other members of my family, she really expected me to be a pissed off, anti-social misfit. I’m used to people being wrong about me and I’ve just learned to ignore it. I’ve always believed that the right people will understand what I am doing in this zine. It may be jarring at first but if you examine what I am saying closely, it will at least make you decide how you feel for yourself. Or you’ll get so fucking sick of my insane ego that you’ll throw this zine away so that no one else could accidentally read it.

Since I started Negative Capability, I’ve often been asked what it’s about by stores, traders, reviewers and friends. I think people expect me to say something bland like, “It’s a literary journal about polar opposites” or “it’s about my obsession with collecting film negatives from around the world.” Unfortunately, what this zine is about can’t be boiled down to a simple catchphrase, so I usually tell people, “It’s about what an asshole I am.” That usually shuts them up, especially if they’ve known me for a while and don’t think I’m an asshole at all. The thing is, inside my head, I feel like every emotion I have, every idea that I have and every expression I make is as true, legitimate, sincere and sane as anyone else’s in the world.

There are times when even my wife thinks I’m crazy for feeling the way I do or for saying the things I say and she’s the only person ever to get close enough to me to see who I really am. My brain may seem like a scary place to visit but I guess that’s what this zine has always been about—what goes on in my head. I don’t sugarcoat it, make sure it conforms to current PC thinking or even try to find a nice way to say things. In my head, I’m right and everyone else is wrong. In my life I have to deal with everyone else telling me that they’re right and I’m wrong, so in this forum, the world of ideas will be defined as I see it. You are free to disagree with me because I don’t always agree with what I’ve said forever, because I have an open mind.
For example, I used to hate rap and even went so far as to say that technically, it isn’t music. I’ve changed my mind. I actually like a little rap, especially Eminem, DMX, 50 Cent and even the ODB. I have always liked the Beastie Boys, but more because they’re Jewish than because they’re white. They also rap about shit I know—bitches and New York City. I still think most rappers are inarticulate and mangle my beloved English language, but the rage is sincere and I’m all about sincerity. As DMX says, “I’ve done it all—from mackin’ two ho’s in a three-way, Dominican ho’s on B’way and country ho’s in VA—and they all say the same about my game—it’s tight.” I didn’t realize what my music collection had been missing and now I know—songs about beating up women, getting high, driving an expensive car and being a motherfucking pimp.

Despite the fact that I consider myself a wordsmith first and everything else somewhere far behind that, I really dislike writers in general. I don’t sit here crafting structured sentences while trying to be poetic or profound, because unlike most other writers, I don’t presume to know more than my readers. I’ll tell you all the stuff that I know and you can tell me if you knew that shit already. I hope that you all learn something interesting and new, even if the only thing you learn is that you disagree with everything I have to say.

There’s only one piece of fiction in this issue (I don’t have to label it—if you think it’s real then you might be retarded) and like all my fiction, it has nothing to do with me. All of the events in the story happened exactly the way I wrote it, but it’s not real. The main reason I don’t enjoy other people’s fiction is that it’s almost always thinly-veiled and pretentious autobiography. This entire zine is my pretentious autobiography without the bogus tag of “fiction.” Obviously some of the things I am about to tell you are personal and painful, but I’ve always felt that life is not about what’s given to you but what you do with it, so if you’re stuck with a baby arm, you can still learn to juggle two balls one-handed.

I still wonder how it’s all supposed to turn out for me. I used to think that I was just stumbling through life looking for something to do that gave my life meaning. I found what I was looking for in a gorgeous and hilarious 4'10" redhead from La Cañada, California. Some time soon we’re going to have our one and only child and I’ll take a well-earned sabbatical from paying work to do family work and be a good guy. If you think that’s terribly sweet, please hold that thought. Before you decide that I’m a sweetheart, read the rest of this zine, and if you think I’m the only one that’s angry, please read my wife Juli’s brand new Maxi-Rant™. Don’t blame me for the way she is because I can assure you that she was like that when I met her and that’s exactly why I fell in love with her. We are both a little good and a little evil and that works for us.

In my last issue, I wrote about this documentary I saw about explorers that used to go to Antarctica and catch sweet, gentle penguins, keep them in the hold of the ship and essentially use them as live firewood. I love penguins more than any other animal in the world for reasons too numerous to mention and the thought of penguins being thrown into a fire by some greasy sailor used to give me nightmares. I swear, this is the goddamn truth. But once I wrote about it, once I publicly indicted the ghosts of the people responsible, I felt like I was able to pass the burden of that to someone else. Now when I think about the penguins, it takes on a cartoonish falseness, like it’s too sick to possibly be real. It’s just a cartoon or a fairy tale and my subconscious mind has somehow been able to cope with the knowledge of this unbearable cruelty by utter denial.

I have to keep writing about every evil, fucked up thing that is in my head so I can be rid of it. I have been an atheist since I was eleven—my brother and I were thrown out of Hebrew school because I was arguing with the teacher and demanding proof that there was a G-d (that’s for my bro, yo!). So I can’t confess my sins and be forgiven because my parents were Jews and the Jesus Myth is just so goddamn ridiculous that I have a hard time dealing with anyone who is into Jesus. I mean, Jesus Fucking Christ, here in New York City, Ash Wednesday is one of the funniest days of the year. Everywhere you go, you’ll see people from all walks of life, in all different kinds of clothes, all walking around in public with a huge black smudge in the middle of their foreheads. It’s unbelievable to me that in this day and age there are people who think that having a smudge of ash on their head is going to do anything good for them or G-d. That’s fucking retarded and now your head’s all dirty. It’s almost like their G-d keeps them in line by constantly punking them out. Have a cracker, repeat this prayer over and over like a mental patient, cut your head open, wear some ashes, feel guilty, and don’t forget, you can only fuck when you’re married and only to have children. That’s a really good plan if you’re trying to perpetuate your bizarre cult. Let’s face facts, people: The Bible is man-made fiction.

If anyone reading this is deeply religious and seriously offended, GOOD! You are like a hypnotized kid in a cult of lies and I want to be the guy that kidnaps you and saves your mind from religion. Whether you’re a Moonie, a Wiccan or a Baptist, I have bad news for you: It’s all a big joke on you. Everything else that is real in this world requires tangible evidence and you have none. There’s more evidence of fucking UFOs than there is that Jesus was the son of G-d, or that there even is a G-d. Damn, that G-d is annoying. Let’s keep it real and tell the folks how we do it around here. So I was raping God in a bathroom stall in the Port Authority and he was crying like a little girl. MWAH ha hahahaha! I am such a fucking asshole and I can’t even help it! I have so much more bile and anger left that I promise you that I will zine until I can zine no more, Pablo. When I run out of material, it will mean that my essence has been purged of this evil and I will be free to skip in fields of daisies and butterflies with all of the pets I’ve had in my life that have died. We’ll sleep late, make s’mores, smoke weed, lie in a hammock, listen to Tenacious D, play Grand Theft Auto and I’ll get a good blowjob every single time I get a boner. That will be the day, motherfucker.

Web Bonus Info:

The picture of me is a self-portrait from 1994, when I was living in San Francisco and going to grad school. When I was fat I didn't take that many pictures of myself but now that I am fit, I don’t mind having my picture taken at all. The penguin movie that I was talking about is called “The Congress of Penguins” and I couldn’t find very much info about it, but I remember that image of penguins used as firewood and it haunted me for a long time.

The picture of the dollar bill on fire was from a clip art collection that I got when I was a magazine editor but the dollar wasn't really burning, it was just a little bit on fire, so I enhanced it with fire from one of my many source images. The Plan B logo is from a folder that I got when I worked for the stationery magazine but the original was printed on recycled cardboard that was very colorful and a huge pain in the ass to remove, but it was worth it.

The Grand Theft Auto picture had to be severely lightened for publication because it made the type I laid on top of it too hard to read. The picture of the arm juggling is really my arm and I was really juggling. I did it for like half an hour while my wife shot a bunch of pictures. Almost all of them were too blurry to use and I felt like a real weirdo because I took my shirt off so my sleeve wouldn’t be in the picture, then stood with my arm near a wall and juggled two balls one-handed for half an hour while my wife kept snapping away.